The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial organization that serves central banks worldwide

BIS newly-opened Toronto Innovation Hub focuses on open finance

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The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has launched a new Innovation Hub in Toronto, its first in the Americas and seventh globally.

BIS Innovation Hubs work with central banks to improve the functioning of financial systems. The initiative started in 2019 with three centers in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In 2021, two more were launched in London and Stockholm, and last year, the Eurosystem hubs were launched in Paris and Frankfurt.

The Toronto hub is a partnership between BIS and the Bank of Canada. It will be headed by Miguel Diaz, who previously served as the head of payment systems and market infrastructure at the Bank of Mexico.

BIS says the hub will focus on innovation for regulatory and oversight purposes, as well as new market infrastructure and open finance. It will also delve into CBDCs, cybersecurity, and green finance.

Being the first Innovation Hub in the Americas, it will serve North American nations, including Canada and the U.S., the Caribbean, and Latin America.

In a fireside chat at the opening ceremony, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem stated that the central bank needed to be involved in the initiative to shape the future of digital finance. As the private sector innovates rapidly and offers cutting-edge financial services, central banks must keep up to protect the public, he noted.

BIS General Manager Agustín Carstens described the new hub as “an important milestone in our efforts to build the financial system of the future through innovation and experimentation.”

“We are looking forward to collaborate with the Bank of Canada and other central banks to foster a more modern, efficient and inclusive financial system,” added Carstens, who previously served as the Governor of the Bank of Mexico.

The BIS Innovation Hubs have played a significant role in developing CBDCs globally. They are involved in ongoing projects with the central banks of France, South Korea, England, Mexico, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and more.

Most recently, one of its landmark initiatives—Project mBridge—entered the MVP stage, bringing it closer to launch. The Saudi Arabian central bank also joined the project as the fifth member alongside China, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.

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